Friday July 11, 2008
AURILLAC, France (AP) -- A spokesman for the Liquigas cycling
team says Tour de France rider Manuel Beltran has been taken away
by French police. Paolo Barbieri says Beltran was taken from the team hotel, and police are searching the team's rooms.
The veteran Spanish rider is out of the Tour de France after
testing positive for EPO following the first stage on July 5th. The head of the French anti-doping agency tells The Associated Press that Beltran had been targeted after his "parameters were abnormal" in the pre-Tour blood testing on the 3rd and 4th of this month.
Beltran has been suspended from the Liquigas team. And Barbieri
says if a second backup sample also tests positive for the
performance enhancing drug, Beltran will be fired. He says the rest of the Liquigas team plans to continue in the three-week race. The news about Beltran is overshadowing a fine effort by countryman Luis-Leon Sanchez, who hours earlier won the seventh stage of the Tour.
There was no change at the top of the overall standings, where
Luxembourg's Kim Kirchen leads Cadel Evans of Australia by six seconds and Germany's Stefan Schumacher by 16.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)